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Sewing Repair/Dress Elastic Gathering

sewverne76 | Posted in General Discussion on

Last summer my daughter purchased a dress with the elastic gathering across the chest.  We brought this out of storage and to our dismay, the elastic has died!!!!  Therefore, I have removed all visible signs of the manufacturer’s “quality???” work and would like to replace this elastic stitching, however, dispite the number of books I own, I cannot find any reference to sewing with elastic thread.  I have search the net a little, however I haven’t found a method that works. 

I was wondering if anyone has had this experience and any advise on fixing the situation.  (By the time I figure this out, I could make her a new/nicer dress.)


Thanks to all!




  1. Susan -homedecsewing | | #1

    Morning, I think we may need more info, Susan

  2. Fruzzle | | #2

    Is it shirring?

    There's a Threads with an article on this somewhere -- about 2 years ago, I think?

    I found it! Oct/Nov 2004 -- p54, in "Choosing and Using Elastic"

    Edited 5/3/2007 1:30 pm ET by Fruzzle

  3. mainestitcher | | #3

    I've done this a couple times:  sewn with elastic thread in the bobbin only.

    Be aware, the elastic thread you purchase and install this year may well "die" too, it has a limited lifespan. 

    If you Jump from one row of stitching to the next, you'll only need to tie off the ends where you start and finish.  You can also pull the individual strands on the elastic side to tighten up the fit, and knot them. 

    In my exsperience, these garments are meant to be worn a few times, after that the elastic needs to be replaced.

    I've thrown out almost whole spools of elastic thread, too, that was purchased, and only a little used.  Found some time later, it had very little recovery left.   

  4. Pattiann42 | | #4

    If the dress is a favorite, I would attempt to salvage it.  Mothers can work miracles.

    Mainstitcher has the right idea.  I found some information in Simplicity's Simply the Best Sewing Book, where it is recommended that you wind the bobbin by hand to eliminate the tension that the the auto wind would put on the bobbin.  Try first on scrap, as I have never tried this. 

    Would zig-zaging over small elastic cord be an option?  If not too bulky, it might hold-up longer than elastic thread.  You may have already done this - -  I would wash the dress in cold/cool water and not dry it in the dryer.

    Elastic holds us up, but it sure can let us down! 

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